Just few days to the next European Council and, as announced some months ago by President Herman Van Rompuy, the meeting of Heads of State or Government will take a particular meaning this time: for the first of the two days dedicated to the meeting, the leaders of the EU Member States gather in Ypres, in the Flemish region, to commemorate the hundred years from the beginning of the Great War. It was 28 June 1914 in fact when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo, marking the beginning of one of the most obscure periods of our history.
European leaders will be in Ypres during the first day of the Council – 26 June – and will all participate to a ceremony held to remember the over 300,000 soldiers killed in the four battles fought in the Flemish ground. At the foot of the Menin Gate, the Arch from where troops left, now turned into a memorial, “Last Post” – the British curfew – will be played. Each night, from the end of WWI – with the exception of the years of WWII – firemen tune this ode to suffering and memory with their trumpets in front of hundred persons each time.